Monday, October 24, 2011

Fun-shaped Crayons

I got this idea from a friend of mine.  She makes heart-shaped crayons for her kids every year for Valentine's Day.  It is so easy to melt down all of your old and broken crayons to make new and beautiful ones.
 First, find all of your old and broken crayons and take the papers off.  You can soak them in some cold water for a few minutes and the papers will come off fairly easily.  Crayola brand crayons melt the best.

There are two different methods for making your crayons:

The double boiler method: melt the crayons and pour them into fun-shaped ice cube trays.  You can find so many fun shapes at the dollar store or thrift stores.  There is no reason to spend a lot of money.  I also borrowed from friends.  You do need to know that you can't use the molds for ice or food after you have made crayons, it leaves a waxy residue.

Brake your crayons into small pieces and put each color into its own clean tin or aluminum can.  Boil some water in a shallow pot then turn it down to low.  You only want about an inch of water in the pot.  Put the cans in the pot standing up.  Watch them to make sure the can don't fall over.  You might want to swirl the cans once in a while to help melt your crayons.  Once the crayons have melted, use an oven mitt to pick up the can and pour the crayons into your molds.  The cans aren't very hot but the wax inside is.  Let the molds sit for a while so the wax can harden.  Pop them out and enjoy your fun crayons.

The baking method:  using a silicone baking mold.  There are a lot of fun baking molds out there but they are more expensive than ice cube trays.  Remember, you can't use the mold for food after making crayons in it so look at the thrift store to find cheap molds.  This method is easier than the double boiler method.  Preheat your oven to 250 F.  Fill your mold with crayons pieces (different colors make for really colorfull crayons).  Place your mold on a baking sheet incase the wax drips.  Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until wax is melted.  Remove the mold from the oven using an oven mitt.  Let the mold sit and cool and the wax harden.  Pop them out and smooth any rough edges. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

The little man is growing so fast!

 Last month (September) Bennington turned 18 months.  He is growing so fast and we love him so much.  Here are just a few of the cute things he does:
He loves trains, cars, trucks and mud puddles.  He is all boy.

He is very cuddley and loves animals.  He always tries to feed his animals some of whatever he is eating.
He loves dogs and cats and wants to play with them.  He runs after cats saying "kee kee".  Dogs run after him and he says "daw daw".
He loves to see all the babies at church.  He says "baby" everytime he sees one.
He loves pretending to cook with pots and pans.
He likes to watch Thomas the Tank Engine and he tells me so by saying "oooo-ooo" (train sounds).
He is also very good and making a lion roar and elephant sounds when he sees one.
He also likes to watch Go Diego Go and says "go go" when he wants to watch it.
And he says "boo" when he wants to watch Blues Clues.
He can also say "cookie", "juice", "cheese", and "all gone".

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sensory Bins II

We have recently been reading a lot of The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.  Benny loves this book, we read it over and over again.  I think it is a great book for toddlers because it is so colorful and fun, teaches about caterpillars and butterflies, and helps kids learn counting.  I decided to make a sensory bin based on The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
The purpose of this sensory bin is to help develope his sorting and categorizing skills.  The bin is full of play fruit and little caterpillars that I made with little pom poms.  At this point, I just want him to separate the caterpillars from the fruit.  Later, we will work on sorting the caterpillars by color and putting them in the bin with the matching butterfly.  (The butterflies are made by cutting a butterfly shape out of matching felt and gluing pom poms to the front.  I then glued a wooden clothes pin on the back so it could be attached to a little bowl.)  As he progresses, we can work on using tweezers or tongs to pick up the caterpillars to develope fine motor skills.

My son loves playing with the fruit and caterpillars.  Sorting is not something that he understands right away.  I believe that using sensory bins is a gradual process.  Keep it up and they will learn the skills you are trying to teach.  This is a good way to let him play with a purpose.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Colors Activity Book

In the land of unfinished projects I finally completed ONE.  Yay! this is something that I've been working on for a while.  It is a colors activity book for my son.
Each page features a different color.  I made objects out of felt and sewed them on to each page.  It is also decorated with ribbons and buttons of each color.  There is also a pocket on each page that holds a card with a picture and the name of the color.  I used a grommet setter to puts grommets on each page and used 1.5 inch book rings to hold it all together.  It didn't cost a whole lot because I was able to use scraps of fabric and felt.  I also made a few of the objects detatchable using velcro.  The carrot on the orange and blue page for example can be removed and fed to the blue bunny.  My son loves looking at each page, pulling out the cards and playing with the objects.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sensory Bins

A sensory bin is a fun way to help your child develope skills.  I call it playing with a purpose.  You fill a plastic bin with all kinds of objects of different shapes, sizes and textures.  Your child gets to play and learn at the same time.  You can fill a bin with something as simple as pasta, rice, beans or pom poms.  (I started out with pom poms because they are less messy when they are spilled on the floor.)  Then you can add in other elements.  For example check out my Ice Cream Shoppe sensory bin:
 I started with pom poms and I added ice cream spoons and bowls.  Benny was instantly interested in playing with it and so was I. Who doesn't love playing with play food?
 Right away he proved the first thing to learn from this method is motor skills.  Using the spoon he picked up the ice cream pom poms and  he put them in the bowl.  He is also learning about transferring objects from one container to another.
 Eventually, he will also learn to categorize and sort the colored pom poms into the appropriately colored bowl.  He doesn't really understand colors yet for now I am happy that he is tuning his fine motor skills.
The possibilities for sensory bins are endless.  You can do holiday themed bins, letters of the alphabet, ocean themed, colors, animals, shapes, bugs, garden, weather, space, ect.  I just like to add some sort of element that teaches something.  He would love playing around in a bin full of beans but if I hid objects in the beans he would learn to seek and find and categorize.  Try having your kid move pom poms with tongs or tweezers.  They can match baby animals to their mommies or finding the object that doesn't beong.  I am working on making a Fall sensory bin and I found some pine cones on the ground.  Some are big and some are little, I will include these in my Fall bin and teach him about different sizes.  Most supplies can be found just around the house or at a dollar store.  This is a great way for him to play and have fun but I have fun teaching him as well.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Daddy and Benny on the Swings

On Memorial Day, our ward had a breakfast at the park. Benny loved the swings. He laughed and giggled so much. It was so cute.